Paul Hutchinson’s lung cancer diagnosis came as a shock to him, his wife Patricia and all those who loved him. Patricia describes Paul as having a brilliant mind and says that he was a beautiful and loving human being.
The Hutchinsons were already familiar with McNally House Hospice and the important work which the Hospice does for the community. Patricia grew up in the area and Paul moved from Calgary in his teens. They raised their two children here. When the unforeseen diagnosis happened, they reached out to McNally House.
“I knew there was counselling, so we went to talk with Arthur Loik, the Hospice’s Psycho-Spiritual Clinician. He helped both of us to just begin to get our heads around the diagnosis. I think that my husband recognized that McNally would be the right place.”
Paul took part in the “What’s Your Story” legacy writing workshop hosted by McNally House and Grimsby Public Library. Paul had always been a writer and he found comfort in it.
Paul had radiation treatment in Niagara and started to participate in a medical trial in Toronto. Less than five months after diagnosis, in June 2023, Paul was admitted into McNally House to help manage his last few days. Patricia says that as soon as he got there, Paul was no longer in pain. He was able to be himself and he was able to say Goodbye to his family and friends in the way that he wanted to.
The atmosphere at McNally House allowed their family to be close during a difficult time. Patricia recalls that their granddaughter did her Math homework on what felt like the dining room table of a normal house. The friendly volunteers were ready with a kind word or a cup of tea. The open garden door and bird song brought comfort on the morning that Paul died.
“It did feel like you were in a grandmother’s house…a really capable, sensitive, comfortable grandmother who can make sure that you are all loved and you are all looked after,” She said. It is the dedication to comfort and the special insights into what is most needed, which makes McNally House special.
“When we first heard the diagnosis, I was very afraid of having terrible experiences when he died. McNally House changed that for us. We felt cared for and everything was really very sensitive.”
“I think that McNally House is an expression of a particular Grimsby way of thinking about things,-of neighbourliness.” Patricia said. “I feel that McNally is exceptional. It is worthy of support from the community. People here have valued and rallied around their local hospice through events, donations, and thoughtful thanks for support during times of grief.”
Patricia has also accessed a lifeline of grief support through McNally House. “The help from McNally staff counsellors and volunteers which I have received after Paul’s death has been so generous and incredibly important for me.”
At McNally House Hospice, we feel privileged to provide compassionate, person-centred care to not only our residents but to their family and friends. For every resident we care for at the hospice, there are at least five family and friends who will require our support.
In addition to provincial funding, which supports a portion of our nursing costs, more than $1M is needed annually to ensure the hospice residence and all other community programs remain available.
But, we can’t do it without you.